Ireland’s new climate action plan, which was published on Thursday 4 November, contains the country’s first official targets for limiting the embodied carbon of construction materials.
A new campaign is aiming to encourage more sustainable property refurbishment through tax incentives for people to adopt passive, or near passive, building standards.
The proposed programme for government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party contains a commitment to upgrade at least 500,000 homes to a B2 energy rating by 2030, among a series of commitments on the built environment.
Leading TV architect George Clarke has slammed plans for the government’s Future Homes Standard as “all talk no action” and being “too little and taking too much time”.
Recent headlines suggest first time buyers are being pushed out of the housing market by ‘non-household’ buyers, so-called ‘cuckoo’ funds. Official figures suggest that private companies are not the only competition in the new homes market – there may be a ‘magpie’ out there also.
The British Blind & Shutter Association (BBSA) has challenged what it described as the defacto banning of shading on tall glass buildings in Part B of the building regulations, and is seeking a judicial review on several points, principally that the regulation is misconceived as it focusses on combustibility rather than flammability
The government's new climate action plan does not show the level of committment needed to really reduce Ireland's carbon emissions, says Irish Green Building Council CEO Pat Barry.
During a speech last year Theresa May challenged the construction industry to halve the energy use of new buildings, and to halve the cost of retrofit. But we already know how to meet these challenges, writes Peter Rickaby, and much more difficult tasks lie ahead.
There was much talk of jobless recovery as economies picked up after the last global recession. Mel Reynolds detects signs of an analogous proposition in the Irish property market: a housing boom that may be close to peaking without much in the way of housebuilding to report.
Even the most cursory examination of the figures shows how little housing the state is building, writes architect Mel Reynolds.
Consultation on rental standards also criticised.
Unelected officials in Dublin City Council have rejected the decision by city councillors to make the passive house standard or equivalent energy performance standards a mandatory planning condition for all new buildings in the city. The council also included a statement to protect the route of the controversial Eastern Bypass, in spite of councillors voting against it.
Motivated by the experience of building and living in a passive house, one of Ireland’s leading political figures has become a public advocate for the standard. Passive House Plus visited the house to find out why.
Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council has voted emphatically to make the passive house standard mandatory for new buildings. At a meeting on Tuesday night, councillors voted by 26 votes to 13 in support of putting the clause in the local authority’s development plan for 2016 to 2022.
Leading businesses in the building materials sector — including semi-state timber company Coillte and insulation manufacturer Kingspan — have declared their support for plans by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to make the passive house standard mandatory for new buildings.
The Department of the Environment has written to Dublin’s local authorities warning against adopting higher quality housing standards – and threatened to overrule Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s proposal to mandate the passive house standard – in correspondence obtained by Passive House Plus magazine.
The government has announced that it plans to invest over €1.5 billion in local authority housing up until the end of 2017.
Irish minister for energy Alex White has announced a boost in the level of grants available to householders who want to undertake energy efficiency improvements. The cash value of every grant available to householders under the Better Energy Homes Scheme has been increased by between 25 to 50%. In addition, a bonus payment has been introduced which will see householders receive bonus payments if they complete three or more energy efficiency improvements.
The Irish Department of Environment has confirmed to Passive House Plus that its proposed independent committee on climate change will be an expert rather than stakeholder group.
Bord Gáis has ceased offering home insulation products and boiler installations through its Home Team division due to a drop off in demand. The company will continue to offer boiler servicing and repair.
The move reflects the recent nationwide decline in home energy upgrades, a trend that is investigated in the new issue of Construct Ireland.
Less than a third of new Irish homes meet energy efficiency and carbon emissions regulations, according to new figures. The number of new homes meeting the rules has also declined dramatically since 2005, according to data released by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
Dr Brian Motherway has been appointed chief executive officer of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Motherway joined SEAI in 2006 and has recently held the role of chief operations officer. He holds bachelor and master's degrees in chemical engineering and a PhD in Sociology.
The government has launched a public consultation on its proposed new building control regulations. Environment minister Phil Hogan announced the new rules last year following the high profile failure of the Priory Hall development in Dublin to meet fire regulations, but details have just been released.
Environmental groups have criticised the EU's new Energy Efficiency Directive for failing to mandate member states to make big energy savings over the next decade.
According to the European Commission, the plan will deliver 20% energy savings across the union by 2020. However, Friends of the Earth said the directive would "not make savings to the extent promised, or on the scale needed to fight climate change".
The government is withdrawing grant support for heat pumps and biomass boilers and reducing grants for other energy efficiency upgrades as part of its new Better Energy national building upgrade programme. The government has allocated an additional €30m to the programme this year in addition to the €60m set aside in this year's budget. It expects the extra funding to support an additional 2,000 jobs in the retrofit sector in 2011.